The NFL has taken over the independent investigation into workplace conduct within the Washington Football Team, owner Dan Snyder confirmed Monday.

Snyder said in a statement he and his wife, Tanya, suggested to Commissioner Roger Goodell the NFL assume full oversight of the review “so that the results are thorough, complete and trusted by the fans, the players, our employees and the public.” He said the organization remains committed to fully cooperating with the investigation.

Last month, after The Washington Post reported 15 female former employees saying they were sexually harassed during their time with the team, Snyder hired Washington law firm Wilkinson Walsh LLP to review the team’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct. Attorney Beth Wilkinson now reports directly to the league office.

The change of course comes less than a week since the Post reported additional examples of workplace sexual harassment, along with allegations that Snyder was personally involved.

Lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than 15 former team employees, met with NFL senior vice president and special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel on Monday. The law firm of Katz, Marshall and Banks LLP sent a letter to Goodell on Thursday asking the league to launch its own investigation.

“Our clients would gladly participate in such an NFL investigation but do not feel safe speaking to investigators hired by Mr. Snyder and do not trust the investigation that is currently underway,” Banks and Katz wrote in the letter.

Banks and Katz called their meeting a “productive discussion” and said they learned the NFL and the team agreed to release current and former employees from any non-disclosure agreements so they can speak with investigators.

“We are pleased and encouraged that the league is taking this matter seriously and we expect that it will take appropriate action against Daniel Snyder and the Washington Football Team upon conclusion of the investigation,” they said.

Snyder vowed to change the culture inside the organization amid 42 women speaking out about their experiences working for Washington. In July, he said after the investigation was complete the team “will institute new policies and procedures and strengthen our human resources infrastructure to not only avoid these issues in the future but most importantly create a team culture that is respectful and inclusive of all.”

After the Post reported a former cheerleader saying Snyder invited her to a hotel room with one of his friends, and that longtime team executive Larry Michael made extra cheerleading videos for the owner showing sensitive material that wasn’t made public, Washington’s owner denied those specific allegations.

“I want to unequivocally state that this never happened,” Snyder said of the report he invited a cheerleader to a hotel room in 2004. “Furthermore, I do not have any knowledge of the 10-year-old videos referenced in the story. I did not request their creation, and I never saw them.”

In a separate statement, the team said it was “deeply distressed by these terrible allegations and (is) committed to investigating them fully.”

• Washington announced Tuesday it’s renaming the road to its Ashburn, Virgnia, practice facility Coach Gibbs Drive in honor of the Hall of Fame, three-time Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs. And a main street leading to the entrance of FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, will be called Sean Taylor Road in memory of the late Washington safety whose career was cut short when he was murdered at age 24 in 2007.

“As we look forward and build a modern identity that everyone can be proud of, it’s imperative that we revere tremendous individuals who have had a positive influence on the franchise and our fan base,” owner Dan Snyder said. “There are no two people more deserving than Sean Taylor and Joe Gibbs.”

The street sign changes are part of an organizational rebranding that began in July with dropping the Redskins name. Washington Football Team is the official name for at least the 2020 season.

JAGUARS: Running back Leonard Fournette is now a free agent.

Fournette went unclaimed after Jacksonville waived him Monday. Fournette’s representatives responded by formally filing a grievance against the Jaguars in an effort to recoup the $4.17 million in base salary he was initially guaranteed for this season.

Jacksonville voided all remaining guarantees in Fournette’s rookie deal late in 2018. The void only came into play because the Jags parted ways with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft.

The Jaguars took the unusual action following Fournette’s one-game suspension for fighting with Buffalo linebacker Shaq Lawson in November 2018.

Then-Jaguars personnel chief Tom Coughlin publicly ripped Fournette weeks later for being “disrespectful” and “selfish” for sitting on the bench while injured and inactive during the season finale. Coughlin tried to fine Fournette an entire game check – around $99,000 – for his actions that day, but it was eventually rescinded.

CHIEFS: Reports began to filter out late Monday that Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid had agreed to six-year contract extensions that would tie them to Kansas City through the 2025 season.

In typical fashion, Reid downplayed the talks Tuesday – he alluded to the fact that nothing had been signed, even if an agreement had been reached. But he did acknowledge the importance of continuity on the roster, among his coaching staff and within the front office as the Chiefs seek to turn their Super Bowl title last year into the makings of a dynasty.

“There’s nothing done with the contract right this minute,” Reid said, “but I mean, if it happens that way, I’d love it. I love Kansas City and the people. Our fans are phenomenal. Ownership is phenomenal. Clark (Hunt) does it the right way.

Reid bounced around early in his career as he worked up the rungs of the coaching ladder. But beginning with his work under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay in 1992, he has become known for his loyalty. He remained with the Packers until 1998, when he took over the head job in Philadelphia, and remained with the Eagles through the 2012 season.

He’s been in Kansas City ever since, leading the Chiefs to four consecutive AFC West titles and back-to-back conference championship games. And he finally won his long-sought championship this past February, leading the Chiefs to a second-half comeback against the San Francisco 49ers to deliver Kansas City its first title in 50 years.

Veach has been there every step of the way, starting off in the personnel department and eventually replacing John Dorsey as the GM, choosing whom to draft, whom to sign and whom to let go as he rebuilt the roster in his image.

RAIDERS: Las Vegas placed receiver Tyrell Williams on season-ending injured reserve with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Williams got injured last month in practice and initially was going to try to play through the injury. He decided instead to have surgery and miss the entire season after being placed on IR on Tuesday.

This is the second straight year Williams has been hampered by injuries since signing a $44.4 million, four-year deal with the Raiders. He hurt his foot after four games last season but only missed two games before playing through the injury.

He finished his first season with the team with 42 catches for 651 yards and six TDs but his production waned after the first four weeks. Williams has an $11 million guaranteed salary this season and is one of the highest-paid players on the team. He said earlier this summer he was fully healed and excited to contribute to the offense.

BROWNS: Cleveland starting linebacker Mack Wilson does not need surgery for his hyperextended left knee and is expected to play this season, a much-needed, positive development for a team roughed up by injuries in training camp.

Wilson hurt his knee while breaking up a pass on Aug. 18. He was carted off the field and there was fear the second-year linebacker from Alabama might be done for the 2020 season, but after getting a second medical opinion, an operation was ruled out.

First-year coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed Tuesday that Mack will return at some point. There is no definitive timetable on when he’ll be on the field.

“With all of our guys, you hate to see them go out and then you hope it’s always good news when they go out,” Stefanski said. “When (head trainer) Joe (Sheehan) sidles over to me, I always hope it’s good news, so this is a good development from that standpoint.”

The Browns have had numerous injuries – some of them serious – in the first couple weeks of camp. Rookie starting safety Grant Delpit tore his right Achilles tendon and is out for the year. Also, nickel back Kevin Johnson was hospitalized after his liver was lacerated from contact during practice.

Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb missed a few days with a concussion and starting cornerback Greedy Williams has been slowed by a shoulder injury.

LIONS: Offensive tackle Taylor Decker has agreed to a six-year, $85 million deal with the Detroit Lions that includes $37.5 million guaranteed, agent Jonathan Feinsod confirmed Tuesday.

Decker joined the Lions as a first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2016. He became the first Detroit rookie offensive tackle to start all 16 games since 2001. In four seasons, he’s played in 55 games for the Lions.

RAMS: Linebacker Travin Howard will miss the upcoming season and will need surgery after tearing the meniscus in his knee, sidelining a probable starter for Los Angeles.

“It’s really unfortunate for a guy that’s put in a lot of work, put himself in position to be a huge impact player for us,” Rams Coach Sean McVay said. “We have total trust that he’ll come back stronger and continue to be a big part of our organization moving forward.”

 

 

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